TV Corner

Let’s Talk About… Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Hi all! Today I’m going to be talking about a television show called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

I realize this show is probably not as well known as the others I’ve talked about on my blog, seeing as this series lasted one season, 22 episodes. But I still very much enjoyed it.

Recently I’ve been getting my tv show recommendations from the podcasts I listen to. They are always referencing shows, and it just gives me another to add to my list. This is one of them!
Air date: 2006/2007

From left to right: D.H. Hughley as Simon Stiles, Nate Corddry as Tom Jeter, Timothy Busfield as Cal Shanley, Sarah Paulson as Harriet Hayes, Bradley Whitford as Danny Tripp, Matthew Perry as Matt Albie, Amanda Peet as Jordan McDeere, and Steven Weber as Jack Rudolph

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is a show about the TV studio on NBS, and the hit show Studio 60, which does live, scripted comedy playing on the news and current events. The show takes on what it’s like to run a live broadcast, and all the ups and downs there are.

The season starts off really dramatically, obviously to hook the viewer. The show is sinking, and they are in need of a savour. Their last producer goes crazy on the air ranting how the show has gone to shit basically. It’s Jordan McDeere’s first night on the job, and man does she have a lot to do in handling this. She ends up getting Danny & Matt, the old writers of the show, back to bring the show back what it used to be. The only reason Danny signs on is because he tested positive for cocaine and can’t produce a film for 18 months, so he falls back on this, and Matt just does what he says. Matt is a little of a push-over but sometimes it’s not always a bad thing.

 

The show goes into the ins and outs to running a live broadcast, and it’s very amusing to watch. It doesn’t help that their show is a comedy show. I couldn’t imagine being funny, or trying to be funny all the time. It looks and sounds tiring.

Underneath that, which is the main plot, Matt was in a past relationship with one of the actors, Harriet, but they broke up. A lot of the first half the season trying to figure out what they broke up, and them trying to move on from each other. All of which includes an incident with a baseball player, his bat, and a phone number.

 

What I can’t stand about this show is the amount of exposition is used. The writing and the plot are really good; I don’t understand why everything must be explained to the viewer in words. They have a journalist come to follow them all around to write an article on the comeback of Studio 60, and that’s where a lot of the information is force fed to the audience, which to be frank is very boring to watch. No one likes to be told things when they are watching something.

When two of their main writers plan to leave… with the whole writing staff without telling anyone, things get a little crazy, but Matt has it under control. He is calm as a cucumber and it doesn’t bother him that they are all leaving, in fact they are left with two writers: Lucy a British writer who isn’t very confident in herself, and Darius a new hire who until recent was a failed stand-up comedian.

The show takes on racism in a subtle way with Darius and Simon, the only two black guys on the show. The two of them have a hard time with each other, and Simon is trying to show him the ropes, and how to become a great writer, despite being black. It’s a bit of an odd plot, but must be something that actually happens in writing rooms.

 

 

 

A lot of the show is also based around Harriet’s religion. She is known as being an active Christian, which can mix a little funny with comedy, and the show takes it there. It was like they wanted to overtly talk about gays, and they use Harriet to do so. 
They make a whole plot around it when she makes a comment about what the bible says about gays, and this leads to a group of gay men harassing her. Tom comes to her rescue and accidently knocks one of the guys down and they sue Tom. It’s a whole over the top plot, but in some ways actually really funny and enjoyable.

 

Speaking of enjoyable, Danny and Jordan. Man it is so cute to watch Danny struggle with his feelings for her. At first I thought I was just seeing what I wanted (because I root for them) but it soon becomes very obvious, and I’m okay with this. I much prefer those two to Matt and Harriet (which still can’t figure out what they want from each other, something tells me this will be a continuous thing).

It is then dropped on the viewer that Jordan is pregnant. That came out of left field! I think it has to do with the actor Amanda Peet becoming pregnant. She tells Danny first and Danny makes it his mission to be there for her every step of the way (interest awws here).

When he tells her he’s falling in love with her, that has to be the cutest moment of the show.

 

But then they really drag it out, and as much as Jordan wants the attention to stop, he can’t let her go. Just like Matt can’t let Harriet go, and he kisses her at the Christmas show, and is now outbidding someone, he thinks is an ex of hers, to her charity Women United by Faith because he loves her so much.

Then half way through the season, the show goes through a big lawsuit where they don’t want to pay the fine. During a live broadcast during the war, an RPG goes off above a reporter’s head and they shout an obscenity. They are being sued for airing that, but their counter-argument is that if they were to time delay that, that would be censoring the news, which they are strongly against. In order to get this settled out, Jack the Chairman of the National Broadcasting System, and must ask Kim Tao’s father to give them their business, what he asks in return is for his daughter back. His daughter is a viola prodigious and she wants to throw it all always to study comedy because she is so infatuated with Tom. 
So Jack makes a deal, her father helps him, and he will make sure his daughter stays with the viola.

 

 

 

 

 

That means Tom must go on a date with Kim, and he must tell her the horrors and failures of comedy so she changes her mind. He is to convince her to stay with the viola. But Tom has a date with Lucy that same night, so he must break the news to Lucy, because once Jack tells you something you must do it. Then we have Matt who tells Tom to lie to Lucy, which is the worst advice EVER! This is not going to end well.

And I was right, partly. Lucy ends up at the same event and sees Tom, notices he lied and hates on him, but only for a little bit until he tells the whole truth, and she agrees to forgive him and go out with him for real. They are cute together.

But that night is a total disaster. Kim gets completely wasted because she’s a bit of a ditz who is in love with Tom. They try to sober her up before her dad finds her, but then that never goes the way you want it to. Her father finds her, and as it turns out speaks English. Damn that scene was amazing! All this time we were led to believe he only spoke Korean; it was a real shock!

The show takes an episode down memory lane. Sometimes flashbacks can be done well, but eh this one wasn’t the best. Matt is supposed to look younger, but uhm, well he doesn’t. He still looks like a forty-year-old (sorry Matthew Perry). Putting a baseball cap on backwards doesn’t make someone look younger, just saying. Anyways the whole point of the episode is to show the beginning of Matt and Harriet. It’s Harriet’s first day and Matt is still a newbie who hasn’t gotten anything on the air yet. They show how into Harriet Matt is, and they obviously throw Luke in because this feud between the three of them has to go back a long time.

We also get a little into Matt and his psyche. He remembers a guy who was fired for taking pills. No one remembers this guy except Matt. During the episode Matt is taking pills, which later we find out this other guy never existed, he was just remembering himself. He’s on a downward spiral. I thought it might be some sort of foreshadowing, but it wasn’t really. He gets found out about his pill use, and he quits, or so we’re told that he quits because he writes like crap when he’s high.

Near the end of this one season run, poor Tom gets some of the worst news. I didn’t think this show would be able to make me tear up, it’s a freakin show about comedy, how could it make you cry? Well Tom finds out his brother, Mark, and two other airmen are being held captive by a terrorist group, and pretty much sentenced to die as they are being held by knife point, one guy has an axe. The group holding them want a ransom of a million dollars. Tom’s face when he finds out, ugh such heartbreaking acting. Truly sad stuff.

The team is trying hard to find out more information, but for the safety of Mark, and his fellow men they can’t tell anyone anything, and it gets really frustrating. When it’s released that Tom is Mark’s brother that ups the stakes, and raises prices by millions of dollars.

While this is going on, Jordan is rushed to the emergency room because she can’t feel the baby kick. We find out it’s because the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s throat, nothing too uncommon, and the baby should fix itself. Only there are more complications with Jordan’s heart rate and she is rushed into surgery to save herself and her baby and is having a C-section.

Amongst all this sadness and chaos, there is good, and really sweet moments. Danny proposes to Jordan. It is so sweet, and even though it happens in an emergency room right before surgery it is still absolutely cute!
Then we have Matt and Harriet who have been having the same fight for the eight years they’ve known each other, religion. Matt has always made fun of her and never understood it. You would think after years of it he would just give up and let her have what she believes in. As all this bad news goes around Harriet spends most of the episode on her knees praying. Matt yet again interjects and asks questions, only to piss her off again.

Finally, the last shot of the episode, it’s a beautiful shot. It’s Matt and he is talking to God- can you believe it? Nineteen episodes it took for him to give in a little bit. It was so gratifying to see. What really helped was that no one saw him so it was a personal thing, oh it was very well done.

The season ends on a good note. Without spoiling too much, if I can control myself, Tom’s brother gets to safety and it’s wonderful. For a while we have no idea if he’s even alive, as the terrorists fake out a death. It isn’t until almost the very end that we hear that Mark is alive and on the phone.

Then there is Jordan. Danny is going out of his mind. He can’t see his daughter because he’s not the biological father, and Jordan is having a lot of post complications. There is almost a point when we’re left thinking she’s not going to make it. To say the least, the finale was intense. But she pulls through and she has adoption papers ready for Danny to sign. Oh it’s all very sweet

And of course we can’t forget about Harriet and Matt. They finally have the guts to tell each other how they truly feel, and they are finally going to stop this dance that they’ve been dancing all season long. They are finally agreeing to disagree on religion.

It’s a little sad that this show only lasted a season. But the way the show ended felt very final, yet it felt like it could have gone on as well, which I think was a good way to end it all. I could have watched another two-four seasons, but I feel like they really got a lot of plots in, and they really did cover everything that could have been thought of, at the time.

I have to say it’s an odd pick to choose to watch, especially since it was only one season, but it was still really good once you get really into it. I’d recommend it for fans of comedy and drama!

 

 

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